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Leaders, are you looking for a highly effective way to gain support for meeting established goals, creating more autonomy within your organization, saving time, and better controlling your personal destiny? Learn the fine art of "managing up."

"Managing up is, in essence, positioning people well," says Quint Studer, author of Straight A Leadership: Alignment, Action, Accountability. You must make a conscious effort to manage up whenever possible. Studer says there are three major ways to do so:

Manage up your boss. Managing up your boss positions the organization well, aligns desired behaviors, helps senior leaders be more visible, and creates an opportunity for praise. "Bosses hear what's wrong all the time. Very rarely do they hear what's right," Studer says. Here is a suggestion:

Write your boss a thank you note. Be specific about what you appreciate, because it will align your boss's behavior to your own and help you control your own destiny. For example, if you say, "Debbie, I really appreciate the fact that you always make time for me because I find this to be so important," what do you think will happen the next time you see Debbie? She will make time for you.

Manage up your staff. Managing up employees is a practical tool for reinforcing specific behaviors. "Recognized behavior gets repeated," Studer points out. "When all managers start managing up their direct reports on a regular basis, pretty soon you have a whole company full of people making it a point to replicate the behavior that got them recognized. Here's how:

Single out high performers for public praise. Corner your exemplary employee when he's with a group of his peers to say thank you. Be specific, not general. Don't just say, "Bob, you're doing a great job." Say, "Bob, you did a great job on that marketing report. Thanks for staying at the office so late last night to finish it up."
Manage up your organization.

"People need to feel good about the company they work for," says Studer. "No one can achieve excellence—which means having a sense of purpose, doing worthwhile work, and making a difference—if they're in an environment where people denigrate the company or its products. Try this:

Never down talk other departments. If you're in marketing, don't make disparaging remarks, even jokingly, about those short-sighted "bean counters" in accounting. Remember, you must seek to create alignment, not division. A company divided against itself cannot stand.

Photo: Ophelia Cherry

Remember when e-mail marketing started, they said, direct mail is going to be a thing of the past. But even now, catalogs, donation requests, credit card offers, and local business promotions still show up in the mailbox. Direct mail is not dead.

Now they’re saying social media is going to decimate e-mail marketing, but it won’t. It also won’t harm direct mail, but social media is here to stay. So what does it mean to your business or the business for which you work? Answer this question: Who are your clients and do they use social media?

According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook and other social media is 65-plus with 100 percent growth and 50 to 64 with 88 percent growth in 2009.

If you are not a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest user or only use social media a little bit, start using it more, or get someone in your office who is involved in marketing to do it. Look at interactions between users, examine the advertising, see what your competitors are doing, see what companies you admire are doing. Being that Facebook is the most popular of the social media sites, you should start there.

Overcoming obstacles and developing skills necessary for the corporate sector can be more easily accomplished with the moral support and sage advice of those who have gone before. Many women in West Michigan are already taking part in mentorship programs within their corporations or in community-wide programs. Here are five reasons why you should get involved in a mentorship program:

The CEO of a major bank once said, “When you have a customer crisis, there is rarely an easy solution—the solution actually lies in how rapidly, energetically, and sincerely you respond to their complaint. The quality of your response is the solution.”

If you can afford to have your brand new warehouse built from the ground up, who are you going to hire to build it? The intelligent answer is simple: a reputable building contractor with happy clients and lots of experience, right? Why on earth would you invest your hard-earned dollars to hire anyone less than a pro?

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